What does it mean to be Catholic?
There are 1.2 billion Catholics in this world and New Orleans is home to about half a million of them. So just what is the Catholic Church and what does it mean to be Catholic?
The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ and his Apostles. There are four marks or characteristics of the Church, and we are reminded of them each time we pray the Nicene Creed at Mass.
- One – means all members are united as the Body of Christ, given life by the one Spirit. We acknowledge one Lord, one faith, one Baptism
- Holy – means the Church is centered on God. It is Christ who, by his sacrifice, makes the Church holy.
- Catholic – means universal. The Church is for all times and all people. The Church is “the fullness” of the means of salvation” (CCC 830)
- Apostolic – means the Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles. We teach the doctrine of Jesus as it has been handed down through the apostles and their successors, the pope and bishops.
But being Catholic is more than attending Mass on Sundays. It is an ongoing personal encounter with Christ that renews the spirit so that we may witness God’s love with joy in our world. How do we do that?
Each Catholic is called to full and active participation in the life of the Church and has the right and responsibility to:
- Attend Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation.
- Confess your sins, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, at least once a year.
- Receive the Eucharist.
- Observe the days of fasting (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and abstinence (Ash Wednesdays and Fridays in Lent) established by the Church.
- Help to provide for the needs of the Church.
Encountering Christ and being a witness to his love means we are called to live like Jesus and work for justice and peace in this world by living the 10 Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.
We are called to stand for the:
- Life and Dignity of the Human Person
- Call to Family, Community and Participation
- Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person
- Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
- Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
- Solidarity of the Human Family
- Care for God’s Creation
To learn more about the Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching click here.
I used to be Catholic, but...
First, welcome and thank you for visiting our site.
Are you hearing a voice inside or a pull to come back and learn more about your faith? We know that life is full of challenges and at times, the Church may have failed you. For that we are sorry. We hope that we can help you take a step towards returning to the Sacraments and active participation in the life of the Church!
Our partners at Catholics Come Home have shared their 5 Reasons to Come Home. Do they speak to you?
- Catholicism is TRUE!
- The Catholic Church has the Sacraments – and we especially long for the Eucharist.
- Our families need to be built on a strong foundation of faith and we need to live it in community with others.
- We need God’s forgiveness and healing for our failings and God’s mercy to help us become better people.
- We hunger for meaning and purpose in our lives.
For more information and resources about coming back to the Catholic faith, visit www.catholicscomehome.org, and remember, you, your family, all are welcome to Mass Sunday and everyday!
Find the Catholic Church in NOLA nearest you through our parish and Mass time search.
No matter who we are, we are always called to a deeper faith and conversion, and there are many opportunities to continue to grow in our Catholic faith!
- Do you want to become Catholic?
- Do you want to learn more about the Catholic faith?
- Do you want to teach religion or become a ministry leader in your parish?
- Are you looking for retreat opportunities or spiritual direction?
From Bible studies to prayer groups, contact your parish about faith formation and spiritual development opportunities at home. Plus, our Office of Religious Education is always welcoming and inviting new and returning students of all ages to ongoing faith formation. Click here to learn more about what they have to offer you. Top
The Office of Religious Education can help you achieve certification through course work offered through their office. For additional opportunities that could lead to more formal education opportunities including a a Masters in Pastoral Leadership, consider the Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry offered through Notre Dame Seminary. Top
Visit our Archdiocesan Retreat Center page for a listing of Days of Prayer and retreat opportunities that offer a getaway with God close to home in the heart of Metairie or the Archdiocesan Spirituality Center may have a session or program that is right for you. Top
Living my Sacraments
The seven Sacraments are ceremonies that point to what is sacred, significant and important for Catholic Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God's saving presence. We worship and praise God by living a sacramental life.
Baptism: For Catholics, the Sacrament of Baptism is the first step in a lifelong journey of commitment and discipleship. Whether we are baptized as infants or adults, Baptism is the Church's way of celebrating and enacting the embrace of God.
Reconciliation: The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, Confession and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness and come to better understand our call to forgive others.
Eucharist: Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
Confirmation: Confirmation is a Catholic Sacrament of mature Christian commitment and a deepening of baptismal gifts. It is one of the three Sacraments of Initiation for Catholics. It is most often associated with the gifts of the Holy Spirit (hyperlink to prayers and resources).
Matrimony: For Catholics, the Sacrament of Marriage, or Holy Matrimony, is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to this other person. It is also a public statement about God: the loving union of husband and wife speaks of family values and also God's values.
Holy Orders: In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, or Ordination, the priest being ordained vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel, and by providing other means to holiness. Deacons are also ordained and receive Holy Orders.
Anointing of the Sick The Catholic Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, formerly known as Last Rites or Extreme Unction, is a ritual of healing appropriate not only for physical but also for mental and spiritual sickness.
Catholic Family Life
All members of the family, each according to his or her own gift, have the grace and responsibility of building day by day the communion of persons, making the family “a school of deeper humanity”. This happens where there is care and love for the little ones, the sick, the aged; where there is mutual service every day; when there is a sharing of goods, of joys and sorrows. –John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation ON THE FAMILY
The Catholic Faith, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, believes in and strives to put into practice the love revealed in Christ. The love of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit – one God in Three Persons – is the model for every “communion of persons”, especially the Family. In the healthy and vibrant family each person contributes to the well-being of the other, each in their own unique way. A Mother, or Father, or Child can never be replaced. Each one is an irreplaceable and inestimable good which contributes the very life of the family. Thus, the Family, by its very nature, becomes a “school of love” where the virtues necessary for the building of a just and peaceful society are taught, developed, and put into practice in the concrete reality of daily life. It is for this reason that the Church has recognized in the family the fundamental building block of Society as a whole.
In the family we discover a good that can only be realized within a relationship of love with another. Such relationships are not always easy, and very often range from the inconvenient to the downright demanding. We find ourselves coming face to face with one another’s faults: our mutual tendency towards selfishness, manipulation and control of the other. And so family relationships are often difficult. But from a Catholic perspective, these difficulties, when faced with patience, mercy, and above all generosity, lead to the virtues of wisdom and prudence and right judgement. We discover once again how to live together in joy and in peace which spill over into our life with others in society.
Our society’s attempt to overcome these difficulties, on the other hand, by “freeing” us from the demands of family obligations and family bonds with the promise of giving each the “freedom” to do as they wish without reference to the needs and demands others, leads not only to a growing sense of loneliness and even isolation, particularly among the aged, infirmed, and those most in need of the assistance of others, but perhaps more importantly, leaves us without the virtues we need to face and overcome our own selfishness. “Other people” increasingly become either instruments for me to use to get what I desire, or else threats whose competing desires and interests compete with my own self fulfillment. It is for good reason that the breakdown of the family coincides with an increase in violence on the streets of our cities, an increase in societal tensions among groups (racial and otherwise) within our communities, and increases in addiction and sexual abuse. We in the Archdiocese of New Orleans are painfully aware of these problems. They have unfortunately become part of our every-day experience and a focus of our pastoral ministry. Hope for the future of society, then, is rooted in the renewal of the family. And for this reason, we at the Archdiocese of New Orleans are committed to the building of a culture of the family.
We are committed to
- Uphold the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church regarding families.
- Uplift the holiness of Christian marriage and family.
- Provide programs and resources which support marriages and the many family situations and environments that exist in the Archdiocese.
- Enable parishes to be places where families are supported and able to grow together with their community into deeper union with Christ and one another.
Among others, the archdiocese offers the following Services and Programs to support those who primarily bear the responsibility for establishing and sustaining a rich and vibrant family life – namely married couples and those planning to marry.
“God calls each of us to be holy, to live his life, but he has a particular path for each one of us. Some are called to holiness through family life in the sacrament of Marriage.”– Pope Francis
The Archdiocese of New Orleans takes seriously its obligation to ensure that those entering marriage understand the significance of this commitment and to call married couples to joyfully accept their rightful place in the Church and Society.
A couple seeking marriage in the Church must contact their parish priest or deacon at least six months prior to their proposed marriage. The priests and deacons of the archdiocese are especially trained to work with the couples to select the most appropriate and beneficial marriage preparation program. This preparation period allows couples adequate time and the necessary guidance to reflect on the significance of marriage in the Church and to adequately discern their vocation to married life. Contacting and working closely with a priest or deacon of the archdiocese is a couple’s best bet for making the most of this critical time in their life.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans offers several different marriage preparation programs, each tailored to the specific needs of couples in different circumstances. Special programs are available for those who are re-marrying or validating a previous marriage in the Church. A premarital inventory is a tool used to help discern the particular needs of each couple and is a required element of marriage preparation in the Catholic dioceses of Louisiana. The priest or deacon, working closely with the couple and making use of the valuable information from the premarital inventory can select the best possible program for each couple’s needs.
For up to date information about available marriage preparation programs, dates and online registration, please visit the “Getting Married” section of the Family Life Apostolate webpage.
The Archdiocese of New Orleans offers a variety of opportunities for the enrichment of marriages. Couples find these times of reflection and renewal of their marital commitments a great way to renew their commitment and enrich their married life. Couples may wish to consider one or more of the following resources to grow together in their sacramental marriage.
Couples who are hurting or troubled may consider Retrouvaille, a weekend retreat experience for married couples experiencing serious difficulties in their marriages.
Natural Family Planning
“How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!”– Pope Francis
Natural family planning and fertility appreciation presentations help couples understand the important role and responsibility they have with God to bring new life into the world and gives them the information they need to plan their families in a morally acceptable way. Contact the Family Life Apostolate (504) 861-6243 to find out about local classes. For additional help, resources and support for Natural Family Planning go to Northwest Family Servicesonline, or the Creighton Model Fertility Care Systemsite.
Catholic Counseling Services
If you or a member of your family is suffering or needs the help of a counselor, consider contacting our Catholic Counseling Service
Ministry to Separated and Divorced Catholics
Through the Family Life Apostolate, the local Archdiocese of New Orleans offers a special weekend retreat experience geared towards individuals who are working through the sense of loss after the death or separation of a spouse. The weekend is designed to assist them in working through stages of grief and bringing closure to the past so they can begin anew. The weekend is most beneficial for those individuals who have already undergone the initial emotional trauma of the loss (usually after about six months) and are working through a period of growth. The weekend consists of presentations by team members, personal reflection and writing, and small group sharing with the goal of providing a confidential, supportive opportunity which can help individuals work through stages of grief, bring closure to the past, and begin anew. For more information, call (504) 861-6243.
Annulment Writing Workshop
For those divorced Catholics who may want to seek an annulment, a series of Annulment Writing Workshops are available. Please call (504) 861-6243 for the schedule and to register.
Grief Support for those Widows and Widowers
For those who have lost a husband or wife, NAIM is a ministry for bereaved spouses who compose a Catholic self-help organization which offers emotional support, spiritual and social activities through regular monthly meetings, socials, and religious activities. Six chapters exist in different areas of the archdiocese: New Orleans, Covington, Kenner, Metairie, River Ridge, and Westbank. Click hereto request contact information about the chapter near you.
Other Ministries and efforts within the archdiocese.
The above is only a brief selection of the efforts at the archdiocesan level to support and sustain a vibrant culture of the family—for more, take a look at the Family Life Apostolatepage. Many more programs, groups, and efforts exists within the parishes of the archdiocese that serve the individual neighborhoods and communities that make up the archdiocese. The single best support program in the archdiocese for families is the local parish community itself where friendships and small communities of families worship together and nourish one another in their daily triumphs and struggles. This is the place where true and lasting renewal of family life takes place.
Prayers and Resources
Click here to request Our Family Prayer Book, a guide to the Mass, common prayers and Catholic teachings and practices.
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning
is now, and ever shall be
world without end. Amen.
fill the hearts of your faithful.
Enkindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit
and they shall be created
and you will renew the face of the earth. Amen.
Blessed be his Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Blessed be the Name of Jesus.
Blessed be his most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be his most Precious Blood.
Blessed be Jesus in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in his angels and in his saints.
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To you do we cry,
poor banished children of Eve.
To you do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help,
or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence I fly unto you,
O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you do I come,
before you I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy hear and answer me.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to your word.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ, your Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection. Through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his children forever. Amen.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen.
and these your gifts,
which we are about to receive,
from your bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
John Cardinal O'Connor
Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs.
We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, annointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.
Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as are we, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.
We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.
We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours. Amen.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.
2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
6. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
8. Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousnessâ€™ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Visit the sick.
6. Visit the imprisoned.
7. Bury the dead.
2. Instruct the ignorant.
3. Admonish sinners.
4. Comfort the afflicted.
5. Forgive offenses.
6. Bear wrongs patiently.
7. Pray for the living and the dead.
Principles of Catholic Social Teaching
1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
2. Call to Family, Community and Participation
3. Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person
4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
5. Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
6. Solidarity of the Human Family
7. Care for God's Creation
2. Jesus takes up his cross.
3. Jesus falls the first time.
4. Jesus meets his mother.
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross.
6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
7. Jesus falls the second time.
8. Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem.
9. Jesus falls the third time.
10. Jesus is stripped of his garments.
11. Jesus is nailed to the cross.
12. Jesus dies on the cross.
13. Jesus is taken down from the cross.
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb.
1. Make the Sign of the Cross and pray the Apostles' Creed.
2. Pray the Our Father.
3. Pray three Hail Marys.
4. Pray the Glory be to the Father.
5. Proclaim the First Mystery; then pray the Our Father.
6. Pray ten Hail Marys, while meditating on the Mystery.
7. Pray the Glory be to the Father.
8. Pray the Second Mystery; then pray the Our Father. Repeat 6 and 7 and continue with Third, Fourth and Fifth Mysteries in the same manner.
9. Pray the Hail, Holy Queen.
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation in the Temple
5. The Finding in the Temple
The Luminous Mysteries (Thursday)
1. The Baptism of Jesus
2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom, with the Call to Conversion
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Eucharist
The Sorrowful Mysteries (Tuesday, Friday)
1. The Agony in the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion
The Glorious Mysteries (Wednesday, Sunday)
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption
5. The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven
Catholic News and Current Events
- National Catholic Bioethics Center
- Bioethics Defense Fund
- Woman's New Life Center
- HOPE Fertility Care Clinic
- Gianna Center of the Gulf South
Marriage and Vocations
Help for Addictions
- My House Men’s Group – Confidential 12 Step Program for Men Struggling with Pornography – firstname.lastname@example.org - 504-430-3060
- Alcoholics Anonymous - (504) 838-3399
- Drug Help – 1-800-662-4357
- Substance Abuse Hotline – 1-800-749-7444
- Gambling Cope Line – 1-800-749-2673
- Gamblers Anonymous – (504) 431-7867
- Mercy Family Counseling Center – (504) 838-8283
- Consumer Credit Counseling – (504) 529-2396
Congratulations! The Church joyfully anticipates the opportunity to celebrate with you this life-changing Sacrament that, as St. Paul tells us, is the image of Christ's love for His Church!
The Archdiocese of New Orleans recognizes the vital role the parish community plays in the life of each couple both before and after their wedding. It is God who joins man and woman in marriage and sustains them in love and it is in the the parish community that we encounter Him most fully.
Your first step is to contact your parish priest or deacon at least 6 to 8 months before the wedding to work out a plan to prepare for your marriage in the Church. Your parish priest or deacon will know which resources are avialble to you and will recommend the best possible marriage preparation given your particular circumstances. If you are working with a priest or deacon from outside the Archdiocese, he can emailor call the Family Life Apostolate at 504-861-6243 for information and guidance.
Programs for Marriage Preparation
Parish Based Mentor Couple Programs - Contact your Parish for more information
Engaged Encounter - NOCEE.org
Archdiocesan Days for the Engaged - Registration Form
Online Preparation: catholicmarriageprep.com
Natural Family Planning
The Family Life Apostolate is pleased to provide fantastic resources for a number of methods of Natural Family Planning: Northwest, Creighton and Couple to Couple League. If you would like to learn one of these methods or have any questions regarding Natural Family Planning (NFP) please call the Family Life Apostolate at 504-861-6243.